On Knowing The Lord
By T. Austin-Sparks
The dominating objective of the Divine dealings with us is that we may know the Lord. This explains all our experiences, trials, sufferings, perplexities, weakness, predicaments, tight corners, bafflings, pressures. While the refining of spirit, the development of the graces, the removing of the dross, are all purposes of the fires, yet above and through all is the one object – that we may know the Lord.
Our minds are so often occupied with service and work; we think that doing things for the Lord is the chief object of life. We are concerned about our lifework, our ministry. We think of equipment for it in terms of study and knowledge of things. Soul-winning, or teaching believers, or setting people to work, are so much in the foreground. Bible study and knowledge of the Scriptures, with efficiency in the matter of leading in Christian service as the end in view, are matters of pressing importance with all. All well and good, for these are important matters; but, back of everything the Lord is more concerned about our knowing Him than about anything else. It is very possible to have a wonderful grasp of the Scriptures, a comprehensive and intimate familiarity with doctrine; to stand for cardinal verities of the faith; to be an unceasing worker in Christian service; to have a great devotion to the salvation of men, and yet, alas, to have a very inadequate and limited personal knowledge of God within. So often the Lord has to take away our work that we may discover Him. The ultimate value of everything is not the information which we give, not the soundness of our doctrine, not the amount of work that we do, not the measure of truth that we possess, but just the fact that we know the Lord in a deep and mighty way.
This is the one thing that will remain when all else passes. It is this that will make for the permanence of our ministry after we are gone. While we may help others in many ways and by many means so far as their earthly life is concerned, our real service to them is based upon our knowledge of the Lord….
To know the Lord in a real way means steadfastness when others are being carried away – steadfastness through times of fiery trial. Those who know the Lord do not put forth their own hand and try to bring things about. Such are full of love and patience and do not lose their poise when everything seems to be going to pieces. Confidence is an essential and inevitable fruit of this knowledge, and in those who know Him there is a quiet restful strength which speaks of a great depth of life.
In Christ "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," and the Lord’s will for us is to come to an ever-growing realization and personal appreciation of Him in whom all the fullness dwells.